To address this, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy put forward on 25 November 2020 ambitious plans to promote gender equality and women's empowerment through all external action of the European Union.
High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, said: “Ensuring the same rights to all empowers our societies. It makes them richer and more secure. The participation and leadership of women and girls is essential for democracy, justice, peace, security, prosperity and a greener planet. With this new Gender Action Plan, we are pushing for more and faster progress towards gender equality.”
The EU's new Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in External Action 2021–2025 provides the EU with a policy framework for accelerating progress towards meeting international commitments and a world in which everyone has space to thrive. It makes the promotion of gender equality a priority of all external policies and actions; offers a roadmap for working together with stakeholders at national, regional and multilateral levels; steps up action in strategic thematic areas; calls for the institutions to lead by example, and; ensures the transparency of the results.
Worldwide, the EU has already done a lot in recent years, also in difficult environments, to accelerate progress on empowering women and girls, and safeguard gains made on gender equality during the 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action. In 2019, 64% of all new projects, worth €8.7 billion, had gender equality as one of their objectives. By 2025, 85% of all new external actions will contribute to gender equality and the promotion of women’s empowerment.
In Russia, the EU has been actively promoting gender equality and economic empowerment, addressing the interconnected issues of economic and social vulnerability and domestic violence. In 2019, under its Civil Society Support program, the EU disbursed over €6 million on projects aimed at the economic and social empowerment of women. By way of illustration, the EU-funded “We Act” project (Women Empowerment Action in Entrepreneurship and Media) offered in 2020 a 3-month intense hands-on online training course on social entrepreneurship for 28 start-up entrepreneurs and representatives of six non-profit organizations, selected in the open call for applications.
In 2020, the Delegation of the European Union to Russia in partnership with the Council of Europe (CoE) and Russian authorities concluded the first phase of the joint project that supports the implementation of the Russian National Action Strategy for Women; its second phase is planned for 2021. The project aims at strengthening exchange of best practices and peer-to-peer contacts, focusing in particular on participation in politics and violence against women.
With a view to raising public awareness on gender-sensitive issues, the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation has recently launched a series of weekly podcasts “That’s enough!” The anchor, journalist Nastya Krasilnikova, looks into how attitudes towards women are formed in the EU and Russia; why there are so many sexist stereotypes; how harassment at work affects women, and many other issues. She is assisted by experts from the EU and Russia. The series will have two seasons, with six episodes each.